PETALING JAYA: Singapore police had informed Bank Negara of suspicious transactions involving a company owned by the husband and son of its former governor, with the funds coming from accounts linked to Low Taek Jho, known as Jho Low, according to a news report.
The Edge said according to documents it had sighted, the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) had shared this information with the central bank in 2015 and 2016.
Bank Negara governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz was the governor of the central bank when this information was relayed to it.
This involved suspicious funds going into the account of Rhapsody Ltd, which it confirmed was owned by her husband, Dr Tawfiq Ayman, and a son who was not named.
The account was with the UBS bank in Singapore.
“Several inflows of funds into this account triggered a suspicious transaction report (STR), that took place in 2008 and 2009. But Bank Negara was only alerted in 2015 and 2016.
“Soon after this, investigators in Malaysia, Switzerland and the US launched probes into the theft and laundering of billions of dollars that belonged to lMDB.
“The probes were triggered by exposes published from March 2015 by The Edge, Sarawak Report and The Wall Street Journal,” the report said.
According to documents shared by Singapore’s CAD with Malaysian investigators, Iron Rhapsody received a total of US$16.22 million (RM66 million) from companies/bank accounts of Jho Low. They involved five transactions.
The source of four of the transactions, it added, involved funds from profits from Jho Low and his cohorts from the RM5 billion 1MDB/TIA (Terengganu Investment Authority) bonds arranged by Ambank in 2009.
“Jho Low and others, via Aktis Capital Pte Ltd, Acme Time and Country Group Private Securities Ltd, made more than RM600 million in profits from this.
“Besides this, Tawfiq and Jho Low were also believed to have been partners in a company that Jho Low set up in July 2007 called Abu Dhabi Kuwait Malaysia (ADKMIC),” the report said.
It added documents also showed that ex-banker BSI banker Yak Yew Chee, had told CAD that when ADKMIC was incorporated, there were six to seven shareholders, including Jho Low and Tawfiq. Yak was jailed in Singapore for abetting Jho Low in criminal transactions.
“CAD probes found that between June 2011 and September 2013, US$153 million (RM620 million) were transferred to ADKMIC’s bank account in RBS Coutts Singapore from Goodstar Ltd’s bank account in RBS Coutts, Switzerland.
“Goodstar is owned by Jho Low and received US$700 million illegally from the RM5 billion 1MDB/TIA bonds issue with the help of Ambank,” it said.
It reported that the government-guaranteed bond paid a hefty coupon of 5.75% and were sold at a discount by Ambank to Jho Low and collaborators via companies in Singapore and Bangkok.
Bank Negara, in a reply to The Edge, said it was unable to respond to its queries on this matter as it “was bound by the international protocol for sharing financial intelligence”.
The paper has also written to Zeti for her comment and is awaiting a reply.